Navigating menopause in the workplace

Optometrist at work

The menopause affects all women differently and it can affect some significantly, with symptoms impacting life at work. All employers should be aware of this and think about how they can support staff going through it. Two recent cases involving the menopause have demonstrated that Employment Tribunals are willing to find that severe symptoms of menopause amount to a disability.

Read our expert employment law guidance for employers and employees, which covers what you need to know about menopause and work.

We’ve also put together some tips for employees and employers that you might find helpful for yourself or your staff in the workplace.

Ideas for employees

Some ideas to help you if menopause symptoms are causing you problems at work.

Journal your symptoms

Journaling can help you to build a picture of anything that triggers symptoms, and how the symptoms impact you at work. Being able to communicate this and letting colleagues know what has happened and the impact it is having on you might be helpful.

Use technology

If memory and brain fog are making life difficult, use technology to help you feel more in control. Strategies such as using a voice memo, creating reminders on your phone or using note-taking apps can help to alleviate the pressure to remember everything.

Find the positives

From a career perspective experiencing the menopause isn’t necessarily a negative experience. This transition and life stage can make you question, pause and take stock of what is going well in your career and how you can shape it and carve out what you want and need for the future.

Remember you are not alone

Talk to people you feel comfortable sharing your experience of menopause with. It is likely that you know other people who have gone through or are going through the menopause, either at work or in your circle of friends and family. You could create your own version of a menopause café, virtual or face to face, come together to talk, laugh and support each other. For more information on holding a menopause café click here Holding a Menopause Café.

Menopause for employers

Speaking about the symptoms of menopause isn’t easy for everyone. As an employer, any adjustments and support that you are able to provide can have a positive impact and help to retain talent in the workplace. We recommend you implement a menopause policy and share it with your staff.

Here are four ways employers can make a difference.

Keep up to date with current employment law legislation

If you are responsible for managing others and you would like to understand more about how to support your team, then this guide produced by the CIPD, the menopause at work: guidance for line managers | CIPD guides is an excellent resource. It provides insight into the symptoms of menopause, how to start a conversation in an open and sensitive way and what could be expected of you as a manager.

Talk about the menopause

Creating a conducive environment to enable discussion on this subject isn’t just an issue for women, others may be happy to get involved so that they can support colleagues. Menopause training and awareness workshops and e-learning are readily available. Embedding this into your working practice will help to build knowledge and understanding and give people the confidence to speak up and access the support that they need.

Respect individuals’ privacy

Remember, not everyone will want to discuss this topic with their employer, so you should respect individuals’ privacy and take a sensitive approach to discussions about the menopause. Sharing your menopause policy with all staff may be all the reassurance some need that they can raise the issue with someone at work, should they feel they want to.

Become an accredited menopause friendly employer

This is a growing area for focus with employers and if you are commitment to being a menopause friendly employer you could receive an accreditation for this.